Little Free Libraries vandalized in Lorette

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For the second time since their installation last summer, a number of Little Free Libraries in Lorette were the target of overnight vandalism prompting the committee behind them to reconsider how to move forward with the second phase of their project.

Three of the little libraries were found with doors ripped from their hinges and books frozen in puddles beneath them across the community last Thursday morning. The library in front of Ecole Lorette Immerson took the brunt of the damage while the libraries in Community Spirit Park and Greg Smith Park were left with no doors.

Photos of the destruction shared across social media prompted concern from some in town and renewed calls for an increased police presence in the area.

NICOLE BUFFIE / THE CARILLON Community members found books from the little libraries strewn across the ground and doors ripped from their hinges on Thursday morning.

It’s the second time the give one, take one-style miniature libraries have been damaged in less than a year, says Michelle de Rocquigny.

The board member of the Biblioteque Tache Library and facilitator of the project said last fall two little libraries had their Plexiglas doors smashed overnight. After replacing the damage with stronger, more shatter-resistant Plexiglas, de Rocquigny found them destroyed again. She then replaced the Plexiglas with wood.

“You don’t like to see damage like that, and for the sake of what?” she told The Carillon.

NICOLE BUFFIE / THE CARILLON Vandals in Lorette damaged three Little Free Libraries overnight on March 30, the second time the libraries have been targeted since their installation last summer.

De Rocquigny brought the project to the RM after seeing the success of her own little free library installed outside ELI. With the help of the College Lorette Collegiate woodworking class eight little libraries were installed throughout the municipality.

“[Residents] have a pride in those things, they’re well-used and well-appreciated,” de Rocquigny said of the little libraries’ popularity.

As the board gears up for the second phase of the project in which they plan to install six little libraries the recent vandalism is prompting questions on how to construct them, where to place them and what will be done to keep them from more damage.

The BTL board is discussing installing surveillance cameras with the new little libraries, or at the least erecting them in places on municipal property which has increased foot traffic or lighting so residents can keep tabs on activity near them.

RM of Tache Coun. Alison Fox, the liaison for BTL, said while it’s not known who is behind the vandalism or what the motive is, the board will work with the community to ensure the next set of little libraries are monitored closely.

The crime, while not heinous in nature, is also a reminder of the need for an increased presence of authority in the community, Fox said.

“The more we can bring stuff like this to the RCMP I feel the stronger the presence could be because it speaks to the need,” she said. St Pierre RCMP confirmed a file on the matter is open and officers visited the affected areas to take photos.

The cost to fix damage to the installations falls on the library, but Fox said she is bringing the issue to council to discuss how to support the board in protecting the libraries from further vandalism.

For de Rocquigny, the recent damage will not deter the board’s project.

“I can’t let this take away from the mission of why we’re doing it,” she said.

“It’s a community project, so the public needs to know that we need everyone’s help to push this forward.”

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